The European Union (EU) and Germany have resolved an agreement to allow the registration of new vehicles with combustion engines from 2035 provided they use climate-neutral fuel only, as reported by Reuters on March 25. The deal has settled a dispute between the two sides where the EU had wanted a complete ban on sales of all new cars with combustion engines from 2035, while Germany had demanded an exemption for cars that burn climate-neutral fuels, or e-fuels. According to the German government, it had secured key assurances from the EU that the new rules would be technology-neutral and leave space for the use of e-fuels in a zero-emissions framework.
The EU’s compromise will pave way for the final approval of the EU’s new emission standards, which is expected to prohibit sales of new cars that are not climate-neutral from 2035. Earlier this month, Germany, Italy, and some Eastern European nations objected to a tougher version of the law that would ban the sale of all new cars with combustion engines from 2035, putting the legislation on hold. Following the agreement, energy ministers of EU nations would vote on the revised law on March 28 and approve it. Also, the EU’s executive arm will soon work on the necessary legal steps to implement a provision that allows classifying cars running on e-fuels as carbon neutral. On the other hand, the environmental group Greenpeace criticized the deal as a setback for climate protection, alleging that the comprise undermines climate protection in transport and distracts the auto industry from efficient electromobility.